The South African Police Service (SAPS) says it has decided to increase its police presence in the Nkaneng (also known as Nkanini) informal settlement in Marikana following four deaths of Lesotho nationals in the area.

The killing took place a week ago after enraged residents of Marikana allegedly burned to death family members of Lesotho nationals. Local residents believe that this crime is related to the theft of miners who recently received their share payments.

The SAPS, on the other hand, says the investigation into the motive for the killing is still ongoing, but two suspects have been detained and are due to appear before a British magistrates’ court again on Friday.

SAPS spokesperson for the North West, Brigadier Sabata Kgwabone says four people have been abducted and killed in the latest crime incident in the area.

“On Thursday 21 and Friday 22 July 2022, three men and a woman, confirmed to be Lesotho nationals, were allegedly abducted from two different locations in Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana, then taken at gunpoint with their personal things (cell phones) and eventually killed.”

“Incident with arson and revenge”

Meanwhile, local residents tell the story of a robbery that took place three weeks ago and claim that the burning of the tavern and the burning of several family members to death was revenge after the miners were robbed.

Residents of Nkaneng are reluctant to speak on the subject due to the increased police presence in the area.

Some Nkaneng residents say crime in the area is out of control, with police patrols increasing at night as a crime prevention measure.

A SAPS tactical response team was driving through the town of Marikana on Tuesday, but police would not reveal what the patrol was for.

Brigadier General Kgwabone says two suspects have been arrested for the killings. “The two suspects were arrested and made their first court appearance on Friday, July 29, 2022. They were remanded in custody and are expected to appear again on Friday, August 5, 2022.”

The partner of one of the accused in the murder, who did not give her name, says that her man is innocent.

It comes weeks before the tenth commemoration of the Marikana massacre, which took place on 16 August 2012, when 34 miners were killed following days of protests at Lonmin in Wunderkoppis, Marikana.

The event is planned to be held at the foot of the mine, where miners gathered for briefings during the 2012 wage strike.

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